Actor Will Smith is recognized as not only one of the most talented and influential actors in the industry but also as one of the most bankable stars who has received various accolades for his work over the years. Starting his career by portraying a fictionalized version of himself on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air and playing Richard Williams in King Richard on-screen, Smith has been appreciated for his incredible choice of roles.

Will Smith
Will Smith in The Pursuit of Happyness | Columbia Pictures

The actor has been a part of some of the most iconic movies, including Men in Black, Bad Boys, Ali, The Pursuit of Happyness, Hancock, Aladdin, and more. There is no doubt that Will Smith is loved by the audience, and his choice of roles has played a major role, but the actor recently opened up about one role that he regrets turning down.

Will Smith talks about turning down The Matrix, which went to Keanu Reeves

In his recent appearance on the Full Send Podcast, Will Smith, who recently appeared in Bad Boys: Ride or Die alongside Martin Lawrence, was asked if there had been a role that he was offered, which he turned down and now regrets. To which he said,

So yeah, I had Neo, so it was going to be me, and Val Kilmer was Morpheus.

Will Smith and Martin Lawrence
Will Smith and Martin Lawrence in Bad Boys: Ride or Die | Everett Collection

The actor had explained that it would have been a whole different thing if he had taken up the role, noting that Keanu Reeves as Neo was a perfect choice. Smith shared that he would have tried to do jokes and stuff, adding that he thinks he would have messed it up. Will Smith continued during the conversation by sharing the pitch that he was given by the Wachowskis for the movie.

So what we’re thinking is that we’re going to design these cameras. So the cameras are not like one camera; they’re like 30 cameras, and they’ll all be in one line. What’ll happen is that all the cameras will go on one time so you’ll be able to jump, but you’ll stop jumping. And then, when I saw it, I thought, Oh, that’s what’s happening; it’s so cool.

This was not the first time Smith had mentioned that he regretted turning down Neo, which eventually went to Keanu Reeves. In his interview with Wired, he was asked about turning down the role, and he said that The Matrix is a difficult concept to pitch, and when he was pitched the movie, he just didn’t see it. He added that he saw Reeves’ performance and realized that he would have messed it up.

Smith noted that at that point, he wasn’t smart enough as an actor to let the movie be, whereas Keanu Reeves was smart enough to just let it be. He added that sometimes actors should let the movie and the director tell the story and not try to perform every moment.

Will Smith reveal he tried to adopt the German Shepherd from I Am Legend

Smith appeared on a recent episode of Hot Ones, where he revealed that his canine scene partner, Abbey, from his 2007 movie I Am Legend, was a brilliant actress to share the screen with. He said,

It was like Abbey spoke English. Like she literally could understand you, it was the weirdest thing.

He shared that he wanted to adopt the German Shepherd, but because she was the breadwinner of her family, she had to stay. The actor paid a heartfelt tribute to Abbey on National Pet Day on his social media by sharing a video of them on set and writing, ‘The Goodness Girl’.

Will Smith
Will Smith with Abbey in I Am Legend | Warner Bros. Pictures

Actor Michael B. Jordan recently mentioned that he’s looking forward to co-starring with Will Smith in I Am Legend 2. While speaking to People, he said,

We’re still working on the script and getting that up to par. It doesn’t have a release date or anything like that. I am not sure exactly where we’re going to be filming that one, but I’m excited to get in front of the camera with him.

Jordan lastly added that Smith is somebody that he has looked up to for a long time, and to be able to work with him is something he is very excited about. Smith also shared with ET in May that he’s also looking forward to working with Michael B. Jordan, adding that they have some solid ideas and he thinks they’re going to make it on screen.

Smith’s recent release, Bad Boys: Ride or Die, is in cinemas.

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